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them to purer gold than ever came Charles was pleased that so celebrafrom the mine? Would it not be ted a man as Walsingham spoke so better worth while to stay at home freely and earnestly in his house. and learn that art than to spend years Remembering that his reading was in gathering yellow-sand, and find, much admired, he now came to him perhaps, at last, that it is worthless ? and asked him if he would read. Children, indeed, hoard counters as if Walsingham, whom Maria's presence they were coin. But men too often seemed to have lured onward, and unthrow away the true coin as if they folded, looked at her, caught her eye, were counters."
which sparkled at the proposal, and, Several of the company had now taking down a volume from the bookgathered round the little group. Sir case, read the following narrative.
" When I was in Italy some years silk. An antique bust of an old man ago, I knew a young Englishman who was represented on a table before her, was in the habit of seeking places to and her right hand and raised forereside in, little frequented by his finger seemed to indicate that both countrymen. He was a lover of soli- she and the spectator on whom her tude and study, and addicted to reve- divine eyes were fixed, must listen to rie; and much of his life was a gentle some expected oracle from the marble and shimmering dream that glided to lips. She might have served as a the music of romantic traditions. At lovely symbol of the fresh present the time I must now refer to, he had world listening to the fixed and Sibyl. selected as his abode one of the de- line past. Her eyes were large and serted palaces of the Venetian nobility dark, but not lustrous; they seemed on the banks of the Brenta. But he rather heavy, with an inward thoughthad no acquaintance with the owners ful melancholy, as if there were someto interrupt his solitude, for he had thing in her situation or character hired it from the steward to whom more solemn than her years or cirtheir affairs were entrusted. It had cumstances could have led us to exattracted his fancy, though it was pect. There was, however, no tradimuch out of order, from having a tion of her story, except that she was gallery of pictures, chiefly portraits, a daughter of the family. which still still remaining, and in good preserva. possessed the palace and the picture, tion. There was also a large neglect. and that she had died in early life. ed garden with a terrace along the “ Before this figure the young Engriver, and in its shady overgrown lishman would remain for an hour or walks the Englishman sat or wander- two at a time, endeavouring to shape ed for many hours of the day. But he out for himself some distinct view of also spent much time in the picture. her being and story. This was idle gallery, conversing with the grave work, as it led him to no definite and old senators, saturating his mind with lasting creation, but it occupied him the colours of Tintoretto, and Paolo for the time as well as any thing else Veronese, and contemplating like a that he was likely to have done. By modern Paris the goddesses of Tic and by his fancy so gained upon him tian's pencil. But there was one pic- that he had the chamber next to that ture which gradually won his very part of the gallery where the picture heart. It was a portrait by Giorgione was, arranged as his bedroom, that of a young Venetian lady; and the so he might be near his incorporeal old servant of the house called her La mistress even during the hours of Celestina. She had the full and lux. sleep. One night, soon after this urious Venetian form ; but, unlike any change had been made, while he was of the other female portraits, there lying in bed and musing of Celestina, was a profusion of rather light brown he thought he heard a noise in the hair flowing down her back, as one gallery consecrated to her, low voices, sees in some of the early Italian pic- and a light step. He felt, I believe, tures of the Virgin, and the sunny nay cherished, some dash of superstistream fell from a wreath of bay tious fear in his character, and he did leaves. Her dress was of dark green not rise to examine into the matter.
The next night was that of the full could throw light upon the matter. moon, and again he heard the same Next day the friend found upon his tasound ; and again for the third time ble a slip of paper, on which was written on the night following. Then it in a beautiful female hand, a request ceased, and for some days he was in that he would present himself in the much perplexity. The gallery by easternmost arbour of the garden at day-light presented no appearance of the hour of the siesta. He of course change. He brooded over the rememdid so, and found there a lady in a brance, whether founded in fact or dark dress, and closely veiled. She imagination, till it struck him that, said, in fine Italian, that she had begperhaps, there was a connexion be ged to see him, in order to repair, if tween the sounds and the age of the possible, the mischief which had been moon when they were heard, and accidentally done. "My father, she that, if so, they might possibly return continued, the owner of this palace, at the next corresponding period. He is of a proud but impoverished Venetian grew thin and nervous with anxiety, family. His son is an officer in an and resolved at all hazards to endeaAustrian Regiment, which has been vour to clear up the secret. The stationed for some years in Hungary; night before the full moon came, and and I am the old man's only compawith it the sounds—the light whispers nion. He is, perhaps, a little peculiar murmured and sang along the high and eccentric in his habits and chawalls and ceilings, and the steps flitted racter, and all his strongest feelings like fairies from end to end of the are directed towards the memory of galleries. But even now he could not his ancestors whose abode is now ocresolve to part with the tremulous cupied by your friend. Nothing but pleasure of the mystery. The follow- necessity would have induced him to ing night, that of the full moon, he let it to a stranger, and to reside in felt worn-out, fretted, and desperate the small house in the neighbourhood Again the sounds were heard, the which we now inhabit. He still perdoors opened and closed, the steps petually recurs to the traditional stothrobbed in his heart, the indistin- ries of his family's former greatness ; guishable words flew on, till he caught, and it is a favourite point of belief in a low but clear tone, the name of with him that his daughter closely reCelestina. He seized a sword and sembles the Celestina whose picture stepped silently to a door near him is in the gallery, and whose name she which opened into the gallery, and bears. Owing to this fancy, he is was in deep shadow. Unclosing it never satisfied unless he sees her dressslowly, he looked down the long ed in imitation of the idolized por. room, and there opposite the place of trait. But, as he no longer inhabits the well-known picture, stood, in the the house, and does not choose to prebright moonlight, Celestina herself sent himself to its occupier in a light upon the floor. The right hand was which he considers so unworthy, he raised like that on the canvass, as if could gratify his love for the pictures to listen, and the eyes were looking only by visiting them at night, at a earnestly into the depth of gloom time when the moon affords a light by which hid the Englishman. He let which, imperfect as it is, his ancestors fall his sword, let go the door, which appear to him distinct and beautiful closed before him, and when he had beings. Nor could he be long conagain courage to open it the gallery tented with this solitary pleasure, but was empty, and the still clear light insisted that I should accompany him. fell only on a vacant surface.
We have more than once entered « The consequence to him of this through a door from the gardens, and event was a severe illness, and a friend it was on the last of these occasions and fellow-countryman was sent for that I thought I heard a noise, and from Venice to attend his sick-bed. while I listened, the door at the end of This visitor gradually obtained an the gallery was opened, and then viooutline of the facts from the sufferer, lently closed again. On this alarm and then applied to the old Italian we immediately escaped as we had servant in order to arrive at a reason. entered, and the strange consequences able explanation. But he stoutly de- to your friend have been to me a source nied all knowledge of any thing that of much regret. We heard of his illness from our old servant Antonio, of choice fruits, sweetmeats, and wine the only person who knew of our were set out in silver vessels on a nightly visits. To convince you that marble table. The ghost-seer, dressed this is the whole secret, I have put according to his own fancy in the garb on the dress I then wore, and you shall of a Venetian cavalier of the old time, judge for yourself of my resemblance waited for his guest, who did not fail to the picture.'
bim. He thought her far more beau“So saying, she threw aside her veil tiful than the picture. They sat side and mantle, and surprised the stranger by side, with the glowing feelings of with the view of her noble eyes, and southern and imaginative youth. She of her youthful Italian beauty, clothed sang for him and played on a guitar in the dress of rich green silk, which which he had taken care to place at closely imitated that of the painted hand; and he felt himself gifted with Celestina, Her hearer was amused undreamt of happiness. They met by the mistake, and delighted by her again more than once, and walked to. explanation. He ventured to ask the gether along the gallery, where he lady, that when his sick friend should could at leisure compare her with be a little recovered, she would com- Giorgione's Celestina, and give his plete her kindness by enabling him to own the deliberate preference. But judge for himself of the beautiful re- he was at last dismayed by hearing semblance which had so misled him. from her, that she was designed by her She said, that she would willingly do father for a conventual life, in order so, and only regretted that, from her to preserve the remnant of his fortune father's turn of character, it would be exclusively for his son. The Englishalmost impossible to make him assent man's decision was soon taken. He, to any meeting with the present oc- too, was of noble birth, and had wealth cupier of his ancient palace. She, enough to make fortune in his wife therefore, said that it must be again unimportant. He gained the father's a private interview, and might take consent to their marriage, and she is place at the same spot on the third now the mistress of an old English day following. Her new acquaint, country-house. She looks on the porance was compelled to return to Ve- traits by Vandyke on its walls with as nice, and so could not carry on the much pleasure as she ever derived from adventure in his own person. But those of Titian, for she now tries to the account which he gave to his friend find in them a likeness to more than soon restored the patient to strength one young face that often rests upon and cheerfulness. Immediately after her knee. Of this new generation, his companion's departure he had the the eldest and the loveliest is called, green and shady arbour prepared for like herself, Celestina." the expected meeting. A collation
When Walsingham had ended, and left her companions, and wandered replaced the book, Miss Harcourt took down a flight of steps in the quiet and it down again and found that it was dusky garden. She stood alone leana work by Mr Jeremy Bentham. She ing against a large marble urn, and turned the volume over in the most looked at the water as it glanced past helpless bewilderment, and then show- her on a level with the turf, and but ed it to Maria and to Hastings. But a few inches from her foot. the poet turned from the group and How beautiful, she thought, is every . said, carelessly, “ Those only find who drop as it flits through the light, and know where to look."
how swiftly does it pass to utter darkOn the evening of a following day, ness! Fleeting gleams in a world of when the clear night had overspread obscurity--such are life's best joys for a sky still warm with sunset, and glim- those whose life is richest--for all demered on a rill before the windows, void of Christian faith, several of the guests passed from the She looked up at the sky and sighdrawing-room to the terrace, and ed. Sir Charles, who was not far off, among these was Maria. She soon though she did not know of his pre
sence, thought he had never seen her pale light from the sky upon her face so beautiful. She reminded him of while she answered,-“ Believe me, I one of his own statues of a nymph. He would not trifle with any one's feelings, came and stood beside her and said, however little chance there may be
- The sky promises fine weather for of giving serious pain. I assure you to-morrow, I trust."
that no length of time can so far alter - Oh, does it? It is very lovely. I my mind as to make me a suitable obdo not know why it is that the presentject of your attentions." is never more beautiful than during a The manner was still more decisive fine summer night, yet it always makes than the words, and he at once replied, us think rather of the past and the -" I can then only express my regret future. The past, too, seems so long that I have troubled you on the suband various, and the future, only one ject, and beg that what has passed begreat moment."
tween us may not be unnecessarily told - Well, Miss Lascelles, for my part to others." I never was more inclined to enjoy the So highly cultivated was the lover's presents and take advantage of it. I indifference, that on their return to have not so often the pleasure of seeing the drawing-room it was impossible to you at Beechurst as to be able now to suppose he had been conversing of think of any thing else."
any thing more important than the “ Such a scene as this, I should ima- flowers or the weather. Maria was a gine, could want no additions to make little more disturbed than he, and it perfectly delightful."
somewhat paler than usual. She took "Oh! I could fancy it permanently up a book of engravings, and looked embellished in a very high degree." for five minutes at the title-page,
“ Indeed? I confess it does not oc- which happened to be turned upside cur to me what is wanting.”
down. She thought how different had “Ah, Miss Lascelles, it is I who been the manner and the words, the feel it, but it is to you that I must look bursting broken language and falterfor a remedy."
ing tone of Arthur, and then the tri- To me, Sir Charles Harcourt? umphant tearful delight when he had What can you mean?".
won from her an avowal of her affec“ Need I explain myself further?" tion. Her steady and earnest eyes and he endeavoured to take her by the and motionless attitude had a strange hand; “I hoped you had long per- look in the midst of the gay and shiftceived how entirely my happiness de- ing party. Walsingham saw her from pends on you."
a distance, and looked at first surprised. She drew her hand away, and said, He then glanced aside, with a very with perfect composure," I assure you slight expression of sarcasm on his lip, the thought is quite new to me, and at Sif Charles Harcourt, who was one that gives me no pleasure. I trust seated at ecarté with a lady. His gaze you will soon find some one both much returned swiftly to Maria, and his worthier of your regard, and more whole aspect appeared strengthened capable of repaying it as it deserves." and enlarged by the presence of a high So saying she walked towards the and beautiful image. In a few moments terrace.
she resumed her self-possession, and « Still allow me to hope that my smiled while she thought of the formal future endeavours to merit your ap- and elaborate manner of her wooer, of probation need not be in vain. I only the look, the language, and the man, venture to ask, my dear Miss Lascel- all so far removed from whatever she les, that I may not be compelled to could imagine of love. She was soon regard your present language as uns asked to sing, and chose the following changeable.”
song, which Walsingham had that She turned round, and there was a morning written down for her:
“ Fears that trembling melt to bliss,
Touch'd by Hope's enchanted kiss,
Night! so clear with speaking eyes;
Spirits round thee dawn and fleet ;
Sir Charles Harcourt's dressing- many-sided life, the bright colours of room was fitted up with effeminate feeling and imagination, and the range luxury and magnificence. He was of talent and knowledge that then were seated in it alone at night with a mu. his, it seemed, on turning to the state seum of toys, trinkets, and furniture in which he now found himself, that about him, and in the midst of several all was shrunk and withered. The lights, reflected by large mirrors. A outward clothing and attributes, inheadache had led him to retire earlier deed, were splendid, but he discovered than usual, and the splendid clock within his breast only mean faculties upon the chimney-piece, of which the and vulgar aims, and chiefly the wish gilt statuary represented Narcissus at to be admired as a patron and a gentlethe fountain, now struck twelve. The man, without any enjoyment of the baronet turned pale, and closed his realities which, for him, were only eyes. He opened them again and convenient fictions. He reflected, also, looked up, trembling as if he had ex- on the strange scene which had taken pected to see a gigantic hand and place that evening with Maria, and dagger raised above him. It was the her cold polite contempt, and he shihour of the charm. In that moment vered at the thought, while he saw the he remembered both all the story of form of Sir Charles Harcourt reflected the last week, and all the previous life in the four large mirrors. For a moof Sir Charles Harcourt, and at the ment it occurred to him that he would same time felt and knew again that be Arthur again. But he looked at till seven days before he had been his ring, and remembered the old Arthur Edmonstone. As a man stands man's warning, that if once he returnat the junction of two converging ed to his original being, his privilege vistas, and with a turn of the eye can would be for ever forfeited. He look down one or other, although they thought of a score of different characwiden to miles apart, and sees the one ters, each of which, in some respects, travel over hill and dale, and end on he should like to assume. But everythe summit of a rugged mountain, thing connected with his own station while the other, between clipped elms, in life now seemed to him hollow and stretches out of sight along a smooth barren, and smitten with the curse of green meadow, so he could now look Sir Charles Harcourt's self-contempt. back upon two lives as if both of them A freer, simpler, humbler existence had been his own. He could not alone seemed really desirable. The know these two existences as he now stern moral superiority of Maria, and did, without comparing them. While the thought of an unattainable union he remembered all that Arthur Ed. with her, drove him as far as possible monstone had been, his active and away in a different direction. At the